NSU Spider

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NSU Spider
ManufacturerNSU Motorenwerke AG
2,375 built
DesignerClaus Luthe
Bouk an chassis
Body style2-door cabriolet
LayootRR layoot
Ingine498 cc (30.4 cu in) Single rotor Wankel
all-synchromesh manual
Wheelbase2,020 mm (80 in)
Lenth3,580 mm (141 in)
Weenth1,520 mm (60 in)
Hicht1,260 mm (50 in)
Crib wecht700 kg (1,500 lb)
(Measurements approximate)
The ingine bay haed oreeginally been designed tae tak the fower stroke air cooled twa cylinder ingine frae the NSU Prinz. The rotary unit wis much mair compact which permittit a shallae luggage locker tae be placed 'boon it. This compensated for reduction in luggage space at the front o the caur due tae the installation thare o the radiator.

The NSU Spider wis the first production caur in the warld tae be pouered bi a Rotary Wankel ingine.

Apart frae its watter cooled single rotor ingine, the caur wis in maist respects unremarkable. Houiver, standard equipment did include disc brakes on the front wheels.

The Body[eedit | eedit soorce]

First appearin at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1964, the Spider featurt a twa door cabriolet body based on that o the NSU Sport Prinz coupé introduced back in 1959. In addition tae the foldin ruif, the Spider wis distinguishable frae the haurd tap caur bi a grill at the front. As wi aw NSU caurs at the time, the ingine wis rear mounted: in order tae improve wecht distribution, space wis foond for the Spider’s radiator an for its 35-litre (9 US gal; 8 imp gal) fuel tank ahead o the driver. The front luggage locker wis in consequence smaw.

The Rotary Ingine[eedit | eedit soorce]

The Wankel ingine, invented bi Felix Wankel differed frae a piston ingine acause the quasi-oval design o the combustion chamber, containing a rotor that ascribed within the chamber an Epitrochoid shaped trajectory, enablin the combustion pressure tae be converted directly intae a rotary motion. Thare wis nae need tae lose energy convertin reciprocatin movement intae rotational movement. The result wis a remarkably compact free revving ingine which in the 1960s wis hailed bi some as the next major step forrit in automobile design. It later transpired that the characteristics o certaint critical materials selected an applee'd bi NSU tae big production rotary ingines wur inappropriate tae the stresses thay wad bear, an rotary engined caurs acquired a reputation for unreliability. Warranty costs associated wi installation o the ingine in NSU’s seicont Wankel ingined model destroyed the financial viability o NSU. The anerlie lairge scale automaker tae persist wi the rotary ingine – an then anerlie for niche models – wis Mazda: piston engines continued tae dominate the warld’s automobile ingine bays. During the Spider’s production period, thir disappointments wur generally na foreseen, houiver.

Claimed ootput wis initially 50 bhp (37 kW) at 5500 rpm, tho in later models 54 bhp (40 kW) at 6000 rpm wis advertised.

The rotary ingine wis installed 'boon the rear axle. It wis compact, licht an vera free revvin in comparison wi conventional ingines o the time. Bi ignorin the manufacturers’ recommendations it wis possible tae rev the ingine briefly 'boon 7000 rpm in the lawer gears an tharebi tae achieve a 0 – 100 km/h (0 – 62 mph) time o 14.5 seconds: ither soorces, presumably based on followin the manufacturers' recommendations, gie a time o 15.7 seconds.

Commercial[eedit | eedit soorce]

Lairge sales volumes wur never envisaged for the caur, an this wis reflected in a relatively hie retail price. 2,375 war biggit atween 1964 an 1967. In 1967, the model wis withdrawn an NSU's seicont rotary engined production saloon wis presented. The Ro80 wad notch up 37,398 units during its ten year production run.

In 1966 Al Auger o Richmond, California USA became the first person in the warld tae race a Wankel-pouered production caur in offeecially sanctioned races. Wi anerlie installing a mandatory roll-bar an racin tires an NSU Spider raced in 1966 an 1967 in Sports Car Club o Americae sanctioned road races throughoot California finishing seicont oweraw champion baith years in Cless H Modified. Because SCCA haed nae technical information aboot the Wankel ingine it wis placed in H Modified racin against lichter, mair pouerful 850cc heichly modified pure race caurs.

Sources an further readin[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Eberhard Kittler: DDR Automobil - Klassiker, Band 1. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-613-02256-7
  • Horst Ihling: Autorennsport in der DDR. Wartburg, EMW & Co. Verlag Delius Klasing, 2006, ISBN 3-7688-5788-3

External links[eedit | eedit soorce]